The British alternative rock band Coldplay has been at the top of the music charts for more than a decade.
Led by frontman Chris Martin on piano and vocals, Jonny Buckland on guitar, Guy Berryman on bass and Will Champion on drums, success for the four-man band was rapid.
They’ve won six Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, seven Grammy Awards, sold over 55 million records and have more than 25 million followers on social media.
Still, on the heels of their latest album “Mylo Xyloto” and ahead of their upcoming North American tour, there may be a few things about the band and its musicians you don’t know.
Read below to see five of them.
1. They could have been called Pectoralz or Starfish.
The rock group that has rocked the world got its start in 1996 at a decidedly unhip place, orientation week at University College London (UCL). It was there that frontman Chris Martin met Jonny Buckland and the two began forming a group. One year later the group became three with the addition of fellow student Guy Berryman and the trio performed side projects under the names “Pectoralz” and “Starfish.” It was only later that the group, with the addition of Will Champion on drums, became “Coldplay.” They took the name from another fellow UCL student, Tim Crompton, who discarded it for his own band because he found it too depressing.
2. They don’t do endorsements, unless it’s Apple.
Coldplay is well known for their generosity when it comes to charitable causes like Oxfam and Amnesty International, but not so charitable when it comes to letting companies use their music for endorsements.
The band has famously turned down big money contracts from the likes of Gatorade, Diet Coke and Gap.
“We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we sold the songs’ meanings like that,” Martin has said.
The band has been a good friend to computer giant Apple, however, allowing their hit song “Viva la Vida” to be used in a commercial for the company’s iTunes store
They’ve also performed at special Apple events and product launches and last October were one of a select group of musicians to perform at a memorial service for Apple founder Steve Jobs at the company’s California headquarters.
3. They don’t eat meat on Mondays.
The band was one of the first and most prominent supporters of the “Meat Free Monday” food campaign started by fellow musician Paul McCartney in 2009. The campaign attempts to help slow climate change by encouraging families to eat meat-free at least one day a week. Martin himself is a well-known vegetarian who was named the “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” in 2005 by animal rights group PETA.
4. They rock but they’re family men too.
Martin, Buckland, Berryman and Champion are all fathers so they have a tour demand unusual to most rockers: they demand 10 days off every month during their tours to spend quality time with their families.
“The other guys in the band have little kids as well, so they want to tour in a family-friendly way,” Martin’s wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, the mom of his two children Apple and Moses, recently told Harper’s Bazaar magazine.
The foursome have made another pact somewhat unusual also in the rock world, staying clean. Coldplay created a rule for themselves that states, “Any member of the band caught using hard drugs will be dismissed immediately.”
5. They almost fell apart.
Chris Martin told the UK’s The Telegraph in 2008 that the band came close to calling it quits after the release of their third album, “X&Y,” in 2005. The album sold 10 million copies but was panned by some music critics who called it inferior to the band’s 2002 album, “A Rush Of Blood To The Head.”
“After the last album, we weren’t really talking to each other; we were falling apart. We didn’t own ourselves: there were too many swanky dinners, too many award ceremonies. We could almost just have phoned in the songs for the new album from our holiday homes. I wanted to burn all the awards, erase the past,” Martin said.